Following a dramatic week in the ongoing Brexit saga, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow must now decide whether to allow MPs to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s tweaked Withdrawal Agreement.
Mr Johnson was once again thwarted in Parliament on Saturday where he had hoped for MPs to vote in favour of the new Withdrawal Agreement he secured with EU negotiators earlier in the week.
MPs instead passed an amendment withholding support until the legislative text could be fully scrutinised. As a result, Mr Johnson was forced to, as per a previous Parliamentary amendment called the Benn Act, request another extension to the Brexit deadline which was supposed to be scheduled for the 31st October.
An extension beyond this date would be the third one granted by the EU. Mr Johnson stirred controversy after sending the extension letter to EU leaders without signing it, and then sending a second letter, which was signed, arguing that a further extension would harm the interests of the UK and its partners in the EU.
At this stage, Mr Johnson is now requesting the Speaker of the House to allow a clear yes/no vote on the deal on Monday.
Among the changes in the deal, the most significant would be the ditching of the Irish ‘backstop’ – a so called insurance policy against returning to physical checks on the Irish border. The new deal would create a customs border in the Irish sea with goods travelling onwards to Ireland to be charged a duty tax.
According to the BBC, the EU is now considering how to respond to the UK’s fresh request for a delay, observing Saturday’s vote in Parliament does not translate into the tweaked deal being rejected.
How the upcoming events will progress is still unclear however the chances that Britain exits the EU on the 31st October appear to depend heavily on whether MPs vote in favour of the deal, and whether EU leaders would sanction another Brexit extension.